Reflecting back on the 2008 presidential election is a trip. You don’t have to complete an extension research project to find the state of the US affairs at the time. All you really have to do is look into the archives of political cartoons published immediately after Senator Barack Obama became president.
One of my favorites depicts the president-elect walking with President (G Dubya) Bush under a large dog. G Dubya says “I’ll be happy to show you around the grounds…just watch your step! We have Dogs…” You can only see the animal’s four legs dwarfing the men under its belly. The words Iraq and Deficit are printed on the dogs hind paws with Economy and Inflation printed on the front paws. Clearly there is only one dog but the implication is that all of these problems have morphed into one large puppy.
The actual election took place on November 4, 2008. The very next day the outgoing president began to act like a GI short-timer leaving a boondock assignment in some out of the way foreign country and returning ‘back to the world’ of the United States. Some began to believe that the White House had moved to Chicago. The president-elects transition team was trying hard to stay away from the business of the government in Washington DC. They were actually trying working on transitioning issues as well as the Inauguration in preparation of the actual January 20, 2009 move-in date.
In actuality, there was no honeymoon for the president-elect. Even though he tried very hard to avoid stepping on the outgoing presidents toes, G Dubya was more than happy to let Obama take the lead on such matters as trying to save the financial industry from taking this country over a cliff of no return.
Meanwhile, President Obama’s supporters, those who voted for him and some who didn’t vote for him had such high hopes for this president, this man, and his family, this country, and all its citizenry
throughout the land. The United States of American had just elected its first African American President. Minorities in every corner of country suddenly realized and had an example they could point to when saying anybody can grow up to be president of this country.
The world took notice of this historic development in American politics. Congratulations from around the world were received by the president and first family. The world was relieved and felt this US president would not have that imperialist self-serving attitude. They eagerly longed for the cowboy foreign policy to be replaced with a kinder and gentler tone which would present an environment for agreements among states-person, no matter how large or small the countries. Their vital resources would no longer determine their place at the negotiating table.
Another of my favorite political cartoon of the election depicts the outline of the president-elect waving to an enthusiastic crowd witnessing the historical event. Meanwhile there is a little guy behind the curtain, legs buckling, face straining while holding up this stack of large books to pass on to the new commander-in-chief. Each books title was clearly visible on the thick binders’ spine. There was Russia, Mortgage Crisis, War on Terror, Iran, Deficit, Afghanistan, Energy, Economy, and Iraq, all titles reflecting the hot buttons of 2008 waiting for the new president.
President Barack Obama was swept into office on the winds of change as his election theme and he himself repeatedly promised thousands of time throughout the campaign. Most realistic minded people knew systemic changes to the way government operated were going to take time given the entrenched and often self-serving programs and ways of doing business congress had implemented over the years.
Even political pundits on both sides of the conservative and liberal arguments understood that now was the time for the congress and the executive office to come up with bipartisan agreements to fix the counties problems. These agreements would turn into legislation passed by the House of Representatives and Senate followed by legislation to be signed by President Barack Obama. Everyone thought there would be room for comprise by both parties to enact such legislation. That is, everyone except the Republicans in the house and senate.
What followed was the usual bickering and posturing by congress, some of it self-serving but most following the party line. The mantra, especially from the Republican side seemed to be, don’t let the President look like he is being successful and getting things done.
Which brings me to the best political cartoon in 2008 in my mind is that of a cowboy tipping his hat as his horse rises up on his hind legs. Your eyes are drawn to the sun setting next to the horseman and the words “End of an Error…” In the foreground is a large pile of horse manure left by the horse. You know this because the manure trail leads up the horse and the cowboy. Meanwhile, the newly-elected president is standing by the large pile, which has attracted flies and is steaming from the sun. In his hands are a small whisk broom and a dust pan to clean up the mess. There are no words on the pile of horse manure just that picturesque view of a what a daunting job the incoming president will have cleaning up what the outgoing president left behind.
At every turn over three and a half years, Republicans and their backers have screamed dirty pool when the Obama Administration brought up these items left behind by an administration that not only was the cause of some of these problems but ignored other issues by pushing them down the highway of time so to speak for another president to deal with.
Mind you, I don’t bring this up in an attempt to give President Obama a pass on issues he has yet to solve. I’ve been a very harsh critic of some of what I call the blunders of this president, especially, given the fact that he is a fellow Leo. The one that gnaws at my nerves was his unending patience with some in the Republican Party. Even I sometimes forget he is president of all of the people not just a fraction of a few.
No, I bring this up because the entire voting populace needs to remember where we were and what happened immediately after the 2008 election as well as the subsequent actions taken by a collective political party in this country to undermine the president of the United States. As a former soldier from back in the day, I found some of the acts almost treason in nature.
All one has to do is examine the legislation forwarded to congress by the President only to meet the infamous filibuster. Take a look at the number of judges, departmental heads, and other political appointees that have never been brought up for a vote. Remember the tea party outings with men packing weapons. There always seem to be someone carrying a placard with the president dressed as Hitler, hairstyle, mustache and all? Remember the congressmen who called the president a liar? The same guy owed thousands of dollars in back child support? How about the statement from the majority leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell stating that his number one job was to see that the president did not win re-election? He vowed to make Barack Obama a one term president. And lest not forget, those who say Obama wasn’t born in the US.
I don’t have the room in this blog to list all of the good things this president has accomplished since and even before taking office on January 20, 2009. But I will later, so stay tune for that.
Meanwhile, as you hear these new and some old attacks on our president in this election cycle, ask yourself: What must his daughters think when they hear some of the nasty things being said about their father? What does his wife think when she envision four more years of the same type of hatred toward her and her husband if he is re-elected. What would you do if you were Barack Obama?
Would you run again, put your family through this entire ordeal again? He has already answered that question.
Who would you like in the White House for the next four years, a man of morals or, let’s
just say for now, his opponent?
Peace and make it a great day
Codis Hampton II
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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A weekly blog for your enjoyment